Thursday, April 03, 2008

To Die For

I watched To Die For this afternoon, third or fourth time I've seen it. Though I'm not much of a Gus Van Zant fan, I think he created a minor masterpiece with this film. Equal credit goes to the ravishing and psychotic woman played by Nicole Kidman. In fact each time I see it I'm amazed that the entire cast including Matt Damon, Joaquin Phoenix, Kydia Mertz, Illeana Douglas, Dan Hedaya, Wayne Knight are to a person flawless in creating characters who stay in the mind long after the film is over.

From IMDB:

Suzanne Stone (Maretto) knows exactly what she wants. She wants to be a television newscaster and she is willing to do ANYTHING to get what she wants. What she lacks in intelligence, she makes up for in cold determination and diabolical wiles. As she pursues her goal with relentless focus, she is forced to destroy anything and anyone that may stand in her way, regardless of the ultimate cost or means necessary. Written by Tad Dibbern

Ed here: I believe this was one of those films that got Kidman praised as a serious actress. And well it should have. To pull off a deranged but stunningly beautiful woman who manages to function in society despite that the fact that she clearly belongs in psych hospital is a comment on how glamor can blind us to reality. And we welcome being blinded by it.

There's a line that appears two or three times in the film (paraphrase) You're nobody unless you're on TV. This is updating Nathaniel West's Day of The Locust. Getting yourself on screen back then was difficult. But with cable and the net anybody can be a star.

I catch Talk Soup every once in awhile. I like the kid hosting it Joel McHale. He smirks just the right way about the material. My favorite segment is his roundup of clips from reality shows. The one he seemed to think deserved Sleaze Hall of Fame status today was when two girls argued about which of them had showed her vagina to the TV camera (I believe they got snockered on couldn't remember). One of the battlers (they started physically attacking each other eventually) said that it wasn't true and she didn't want her parents to ever hear it (guess she didn't realize that when you're on TV PEOPLE ARE WATCHING).

Nicole Kidman is elegant, sexy, refined and would never think of flashing. Still and all she's the godmother of all these sad low rent people who just wanna be on the tube.


Anonymous said...

There's something about Kidman I just don't like. But she was very good in one of my favorite movies, Flirting. mtm

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've liked her since the first film I saw her in--Flirting. I wish she wouldn't wear prosthetic noses and chins though. It takes me right out of the film if I'm staring at that. And this was a heck of a film.
Her recent Margot at the Wedding was a real challenge. She played a totally unlikable character and yet you were drawn to her. She disproved the banality of evil idea.

Anonymous said...

A fascinating movie loosely based on the real-life Pam Smart case which took place near my hometown... and what a media circus *that* was when the trial was going on... TV satellite trucks everywhere and wall-to-wall coverage... and I came *that* close to being named to the jury. What an odd trip that would have been...

Anonymous said...

I agree, Ed. She gave a remarkable performance in "To Die For," and that's coming from someone who hasn't liked a lot of her work. The movie gets better with time, which really makes your point.

harry shannon

Sandra Scoppettone said...

When Kidman's name comes up in conversation I almost always find myself saying, "Yes, but you should see her in To Die For." The inevitable response is, "What's that?"

I love that movie and it's when I knew Kidman could act. But I don't agree it's when she got taken seriously. I believe that film went skidding by and only you and the rest of us commenting here are the only ones who ever saw it!

Cap'n Bob said...

Thanks, Ed. If Netflix has it I'll add it to my queue.